|New York City’s transportation authorities recently revealed plans for a 14-mile long Queens bus route — reportedly the longest route the neighborhood has ever seen — which officials hope will decrease traffic congestion and travel times.
According to the New York Daily News, the plan is estimated to cost around $200 million. The cost, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, is due to a major reconstruction of certain streets in the Queens district. Construction will begin in 2017 and may be completed within a year.
New road designs for the route will feature bus-only lanes, curbside payment options, and wireless systems that activate green lights as buses approach specific intersections. A six-mile stretch of the route, between Woodhaven Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard, will feature separate lanes for buses and for local traffic, special turning lanes (and turning restrictions), and wide landscaped islands placed strategically for riders getting on and off the buses.
The new bus routes will provide transportation for commuters between Rockaway Peninsula and Woodside — something for which local politicians have reportedly been advocating for years.
DNAinfo.com states that the project will benefit an estimated 30,000 bus riders who currently use the bus lines Q21, Q52, Q53, QM15, QM16, and QM17, which were created for the city’s Select Bus Service beginning back in 2008.
Although the current bus routes are fairly new, the Department of Transportation has stated that this particular area in Queens has been difficult for the city to de-congest, especially during rush-hour traffic. DNAinfo.com says that regular bus riders “have complained for years about slow and unreliable bus services on Woodhaven Boulevard… The Ramones even memorialized the long route to the [Rockaway Peninsula] beach in their 1977 song ‘Rockaway Beach’ with the line ‘bus ride is too slow.’”
Even though there are an estimated 3,400 coach bus services nationwide, many of which serve metro areas like New York City, it’s clear that this particular Queens bus design hasn’t been designed to optimize trips for the 400,000 residents within a 15-minute walking distance of the corridor.
The NY Daily News states that the DOT has made similar changes in other areas of the city, and that officials expect this next route to be as successful as the others. If so, it could increase ridership by about 10% while reducing travel times by 15% to 23%.